I think sometimes I´ve got hamsters running on circular wheel tracks inside me. Its the only verbal way I can describe the emotions that run around inside me at times, and I´m not referring to any rogue sentiments. I think this picture describes in further detail for those that prefer visual imagery.
One of the most challenging aspects of leading groups of people is to empower them to see how to get off the wheel of their own patterns of behavior. I´ve learned from an incredible speaker, Andy Stanley, about creating healthy systems within organizational structures to see the behaviors that one wants exhibited within the ideology. Naturally, I desire this of my team, so that they can begin climbing into the divine purpose that God has for them.
However, as I`ve had to learn personally, it all begins, getting off the wheel, from within. Must I, be willing to get off the wheel prior to my colleagues or staff? Simply, my answer is, yes. The tricky and most delicate tight-rope aspect of this entire experience is with patience and love. In hindsight, I think I am the hamster on the wheel. Pity.
Two of the most challenging attributes to contribute when experiencing life in this playing field called, earth, are patience and love. For those of us who learn slowly, I´ve learned that somehow presenting love and patience in the same action requires discipline and concentrated efforts when faced with tension and conflicts.
I was speaking to my father two evenings ago for Skype, and he encouraged me to put on love once again. Perhaps he heard the squeaking of the wheel that I had been treading. My father, is one of the wisest men I have ever met and I´m forever indebted to him for pulling me off the vicious hamster wheel various times in my life. I could have easily won the award for most times spun on my wheel if it had not been for my Godly example, my father.
Once again, I heard him sharing the truth of God´s word as Paul encouraged us in Colossians 3:14,
: And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.:
Of course, that is after we´ve managed to place on kindness, gentleness, and a few other healthy actions. My father wisely instructs and stresses to me the importance of putting on love in order to bind them all up together in perfect unity.
I get it in theory. I struggle in action when the running on the wheel gets going so fast that I find it hard to stop, let alone get off the wheel. Today, as I was speaking to a close friend and mentor of mine, I saw the wheels spinning in my head and unfortunately, like a hamster knows, the view from the wheel never changes. I was stressing my frustration about the lack of motivation or shifts of change that I see in the lives of people whom I lead and the pain that I feel when I see people I love not picking changes in their lifestyle, behaviors, or actions to reach the best that God has for them. Needless to say, it pains me even greater when I see those I love making choices that will damage their lives, health, future, and reputation. My friend shared with me about a difficult situation where he saw someone clearly running a few miles, clocking in some good time on a spinning wheel. I asked,
¨How do you handle it when you see the pain they are causing themselves?¨
He simply responded in three short words,
"It takes patience,¨he slowly smiled which burned into my retinas with realistic slaps of life´s truth.
Somehow in that quick moment, someone or something yanked on my fur and whiskers and yanked me clear off the spinning wheel and onto the cedar chips of my cage. Conviction fills my heart and I am moved to ask Jesus for forgiveness, which always leads to a freeing sensation of His grace to fill and flood my very soul. When I begin to feel the frustration of others´s lack of interest fulfilling God´s word about helping the poor and needy, I start to feel pain inside me. When I see people who hoard their greed within the pockets of their own insecurity, I cringe in pain. However, I realize, that I must be the one to get off the wheel and look into the unforeseen future for guidance. I must first be willing to step out into the risky areas of life to experience His great plan for my life.
So, I´ll step off my wheel that spins in excessive turns of stationary propulsions, and turn to the Christ who beckons me onward into the journey of unseen adventures. While doing so, I choose, with concentrated willingness, patience and love. I know that one day, perhaps after I am no longer here, there may be one more person that decides to get off their wheels of self priority to push their fellow humanity out of poverty and into the freedom of grace and love.
When I painfully see those whom I love turn to drugs, gangs, and violence, I cry inside. However, I realize, as my friend told me today, I must turn to love and grace, full of patience to bring them back to the family. Christ did that for me. He saved me. He pulled me off my hamster wheel and put me into the journey of progress. The only fear I have is how many hairs did I lose in the process?
Progress is best in the process.